Now you have hired a remote employee, what’s next? More and more companies are offering telecommuting or remote worker opportunities as a way to keep overhead down and procure talent in other markets. With regards to background screening, it’s no wonder we get calls from clients asking about Form I-9 on remote workers. How do you verify employment eligibility if logistically neither applicant nor employer can physically meet to complete the new hire paperwork? We let them know about Form I-9 and recommend they start the process as soon as the candidate accepts the offer, but not before (Reference page 3, first paragraph of the instructions). See Employment Eligibility Verification.

Employers have until the applicant starts to complete section 1 and until day 3 to complete the employer/authorized representative portion. This gives them plenty of time to complete the paperwork in general.

Who can act as an authorized representative?

Employers can designate anyone to act as an authorized representative. The key point is that this authorized representative has to physically examine the documents used to complete the employer section (reviewing by webcam is not permissible). No formal agreement is required.

One choice is to use a Notary Public that resides near the applicant. A notary public is an official of integrity appointed by state government — typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. Source: National Notary Association. Notaries are not required as there is nowhere to actually notarize. The Form I-9  website does have options to build a network of authorized representatives in different markets. If an authorized representative fills out the Form I-9 on your behalf, you are still liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process. Source: USCIS.

Practice Tip: If your organization opts to use a notary as an authorized representative to complete the Form I-9, it’s important to develop a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) with instructions for the employee to bring to the notary. The SOP, at a minimum, should:

  1. Outline steps for the notary to follow
  2. Instruct the notary to sign any additional business documentation, if necessary. (Some employers ask the notary sign a separate attestation that the person is in front of them; the documents have been reviewed, and the documents reasonably relate to the person and appear to be reasonably genuine.)
  3. Instruct the employee on what to do (if anything) after the notary has completed their part

What should you look for in a remote worker applicant?

  • Good communicator – This is key with any employee, but especially with remote employees since they are not in the office every day of the week.
  • Self-motivated – If they are not self-motivated, then when they are working remotely, they will not have the discipline it takes to follow through on their tasks.
  • Make sure you can trust them – Previous employment is the largest source of falsification on applications. Your company may be trusting computer equipment, office equipment and/or paying for internet or telephone services for this applicant. One Source provides previous employment verification & personal reference checking solutions that you can complete before hiring. These two solutions are key to finding a quality employee.


  • Determine what qualities are important to the company when hiring a remote worker.
  • Determine who will act as the authorized representative and what the procedures will be for the new hire paperwork.
  • Once you offer the position, make sure you start the Form I-9 as soon as they accept.
  • Complete the Form I-9 paperwork.

With these tips on Form I-9, you should feel better prepared for the next applicant you hire as a remote worker.

Christy Gammel

Christy received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Her minors are Marketing and Public Relations. She started at One Source in 2014 as the Project Specialist. With a few other positions in between, she is now the Marketing Supervisor.